Sixers win 106-94.
With the hunt for the #1 seed still well underway in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers had themselves what many perceived to be a “gimme” game against the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls were without both Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic, by far their two best players.
The Sixers were also strolling in with a fully healthy starting five, another sign that the team should have been able to cruise to a rather stress-free victory.
However, despite Philadelphia leading for the entire game, and getting up by as much as 23 at one point, it actually ended up being a rather close one during the closing moments. Doc Rivers turned to his infamous “full bench lineup” rather prematurely in the second half, allowing the Bulls to claw their way back into the affair.
Colby White paved the way for Chicago during their spirited comeback attempt, finishing the night with a game-high 23 points on 8-19 shooting. Former Sixer Thaddeus Young chipped in 13 as well, and both Denzel Valentine and Tomas Satoransky poured in 11 off the bench.
However, despite the Bulls’ best late-game efforts, some elite defense from both Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle allowed the Sixers to hang on to a much needed victory. The pair of elite defenders combined for 3 steals and 4 blocks, and every Sixers starter scored in double-figures.
Tobias Harris led the team’s scoring efforts with 21, Seth Curry dropped 20, Simmons had 15, Danny Green had 14, and Joel Embiid finished with a clean 13 points and 10 rebounds. While we’ve all become accustomed to seeing Embiid drop 30+ points with ease, it was rather promising to see the team’s starting five put together a complete performance.
It’s also worth highlighting that Furkan Korkmaz had to leave the game with a sprained ankle. It’s currently unknown how much time he’s expected to miss.
The Sixers improve to 44-21 with this victory, and are currently in sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. The team is back in action Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets – another game that Philly is expected to win.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire